George Platt Lynes (American, 1907-1955)

Lynes was a fashion and commercial photographer most active in the 1930s and 40s. Born in East Orange, New Jersey, he attended the Berkshire School in Massachusetts before traveling to Paris in 1925. While he was there, he encountered a group of artists that would become his friends, including Gertrude Stein, Glenway Westcott, and Monroe Wheeler. His interest in photography stemmed from wanting to photograph his friends and display them in the bookstore he owned in New Jersey, for which he started receiving commissions from magazines such as Town & Country

His photographs of Marsden Hartley were taken in Lynes’s Greenwich Village studio. Hartley had moved from Maine to New York after the loss of his close friends, and Lynes had also experienced the death of his lover. Both dealing with grief, Hartley appears in a blank studio space. A testament to love and loss, this image differs from the erotic photographs that Lynes is best known for. 

Throughout Lynes’s career, he participated in many solo and group exhibitions. His works are collected by major museums internationally including the National Gallery of Canada; Centre Pompidou Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; The Art Institute of Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum; The Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the National Portrait Gallery, London.